The plantar fascia is an elastic tissue band that connects your heel to your toes. If it feels sore over a long period, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. You can recognize it from the stabbing sensation you get in your heels – especially in the morning or after long durations of sitting. Choosing high heels over flat shoes for women is known to cause plantar fasciitis. Find out more about its prevention and management below.
The common causes:
The plantar fascia is tightly drawn to absorb any shock your feet receive while walking, running, dancing, and exercising. If it is not well supported during these activities, it can stretch and develop holes, causing plantar fasciitis. It is also damaged if you wear heels higher than 2.5 inches for a prolonged time.
Studies have also linked aging, genetics, and hard flooring with an increased risk of foot muscle tears.
If you deal with the issue by shifting your weight onto your healthy foot, you may cause damage to your hip, knee, and ankle joints as well.
Managing plantar fasciitis:
If you feel you may have a sore plantar fascia, you must consult your podiatrist, who will diagnose the exact cause behind it, and thus suggest the appropriate treatment regime. However, you can follow some general tips to ease the strain on your feet.
Obesity is one of the risk factors associated with unhealthy foot muscles. If you are overweight, you could be exerting excess pressure onto your feet. While you must lose weight, choose your exercises wisely. Avoid high-impact activities such as brisk walking, running, and aerobics. Instead, you can go for a swim or go biking.
The following set of stretches can help strengthen your feet muscles:
- Calf-stretch: face a wall and plant your palms on it. Take your right leg behind you, keeping the knee straight and your foot flat on the ground. With your other foot also flat against the ground, gently bend your left knee. The back of your right leg will experience a stretch. Repeat three times, and change sides.
- Towel-toe stretch: Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Take an exercise band or a towel and hold it across your foot. Now gently raise the foot, making sure your knee is straight, feel the stretch in the band.
- Stair Calf-stretch – stand on a stair with your heels hanging over its edge. Hold the railing and gently dip your heels, and pause. Then raise your heels above the level of the step and pause. Repeat five times.
Inappropriate footwear provides insufficient support to the foot and thus aggravates soreness in your feet muscles. Ideally, flat shoes for women with appropriate arch support can help you with sore feet. Look for extra cushioning at the heels and adjustable straps for improved fit. Reputed manufacturers produce footwear in stylish designs so that fashion does not become a victim of comfort. Consider buying supportive insoles for regular shoes to make them suited for your needs.
Unfortunately, there is no remedy for plantar fasciitis. Patients resort to pain suppressants to relieve them. However, a small minority of patients may undergo medical treatment for extended relief from chronic pain.
- Orthotics and splints: Orthotics are custom-made arch-supports, and splints are braces worn over the feet every night to stretch your plantar fascia.
- Tenex Procedure: In this minimally invasive procedure, your doctor removes any scar tissues on your plantar fascia to aid in recovery and improve functionality.
- Surgical detachment: The doctor may surgically detach your plantar fascia from the heel in rare cases.
The painful condition of a damaged plantar fascia is unfortunately not treatable. You increase your chances of wear and tear by being overweight or wearing inappropriate footwear for long periods. Small lifestyle modifications can go a long way in preventing and managing plantar fasciitis.
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